Just a Pigeon

Atlantic Canada, Birds, Canada

When the Steller’s Sea Eagle was sighted in Windsor, Nova Scotia in November of 2021 I was on the way to have my winter tires put on so opted not to go.  I figured I would just go the next morning.  And I did.  And the bird flew away not to be refound 10 minutes before I arrived that morning.

As far as rare birds in Nova Scotia go it’s top of list so a tough dip to manage.    

So, this May as I was on the way to the airport for work in Newfoundland and saw the report it had just shown up, I could not believe my luck for a second chance.  And I certainly don’t make a habit of chasing birds out of province, so this was an amazing opportunity.

I had one free day scheduled for wildlife viewing and photography and had planned to spend the night near St. Shotts to see if I could find the Caribou herd.  I’ve been wanting to photograph Caribou for a few years now and never seen to be in Newfoundland at the right time or be in the right place.  The report of the Steller’s came in as I was on the way to the airport, so I changed my day off plans to stay in Bonavista to see the bird as it was nearby in Trinity.

The next morning, I had to drive from St. John’s to Grand Falls for a sales call and I received word the bird was still present.  As I passed the highway exit to Trinity, my spidey senses told me I should take the detour now in case the bird doesn’t stick around, but I didn’t want to be late for my sales call so stuck to the plan to try later in the afternoon.

I had never been to Bonavista, but it’s been on my list of places to visit as I wanted to visit the Puffin colony.  The Puffins show up in May each year, so I was excited to also have the opportunity to see them.

Around 4 in the afternoon I finally arrived in Trinity and there were lots of birders there hoping to see the Steller’s.  It had been there and left not long before I arrived.  I decided to try again the next morning and headed to the Puffin colony excited to have the place all to myself.  And you guessed it, no Puffins.  They arrived a couple of days after I left of course.

It was nice to finally visit Bonavista and the next morning I had my coffee by the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse and got ready to go spend the day looking for the Steller’s Sea Eagle. Cape Bonavista was beautiful but I did wonder why European settlers would think it a good idea to setup camp on a windy peninsula on a rough ocean. But I digress…

When I arrived in Trinity that morning a good sized crowd was there again; some had even slept in their cars but no sighting of the Eagle yet.  It had been in the area for a few days before it was reported so was expected to show, but the sea ice was shrinking, and we were feeling discouraged.

Around 1pm I decided to take a drive to see if I could find a smaller Caribou herd that was said to be around.  And you guessed it, I didn’t find the Caribou herd. I did visit the Tickle Cove Sea Arch though and that was amazing.

When I returned a few hours later I was told that not long after I left the Steller’s made a brief appearance. I stayed a few hours, with no luck and had to head to St. John’s for the night to resume work.

And so, I left Newfoundland without seeing any Caribou, or Puffins, and no Steller’s Sea Eagle.

I wish it were a better story, but I did meet a lot of nice people on the quest, and got a great photo of a Rock Dove.  Yeah, it’s a Pigeon.  Oh well.

Just a pigeon they say...